Girls Day in Torrance August 2017 

I guess Josh was the odd man out, because we had a "girls day" in Torrance this year on Sunday, August 13, 2017.

Showing to judge Denise Dean, a Bernese Mountain Dog breeder-judge, Nexpa was Best of Breed and her niece Pixley was Winners Bitch for her first AKC point!

Nexpa was handled by Jean Gauchat-Hargis, and Josh Hargis was the only guy in our winning line up, showing Pixley. I was at home escorting puppies from Nexpa's June litter to their new families and missed out on the show this year. Thank you judge Denise Dean for these awards for our girls.

 

Considering a Swissy? 

When looking to add a dog like a Swissy- a rare breed that requires you to work with a breeder to find and bring home a puppy- there is a lot to know. Here are some points and some HOT TIPS

First, it’s a good idea to figure out, Is a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Right for You
Please read this article, by our friend Karen Conant, who has been in the breed for over 20 years. 

Next, consider timing for bringing home any dog, and other matters that you will be deciding like puppy raising and training. We love the book, The Art of Raising a Puppy, by the Monks of New Skete. It’s an “oldie but a goodie”. The best time to read the book is before you have your little biter at home, so you can spend the most time getting ready to raise her to be a terrific family member. 
 

Jeff teaching puppies to wait, and eat from their own bowls- 7 weeks old

In selecting a breeder, do research on questions to ask breeders. If you use Facebook, there is a FANTASTIC group called “Finding a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog”. The focus is on helping people find the dog that they really want. If you don't use Facebook, maybe you can still read the page? We don't know. Worth trying. If you read the files in this group, you will find some aspect(s) of our breeding program might differ slightly. So, ask us about it! We will answer honestly. The information and lists are a collaboration from a number of breeders (including us) and there are differences of opinion, naturally. 
 

'Finn' gets individual car ride training- 6 weeks old

Finally: the real point of this post is us! Ok, just kidding, but we want you to know What breeders look for, and what We are looking for in you. We get between 4-10 times more applications per litter as the number of puppies available. You are all GREAT, but we have to find some way to choose who will get one of our puppies. The decisions are not scientific; we try to make the best guess on who will provide the best life for our babies. We love these puppies so much and from our perspective, all that matters is picking the best home for them, not how badly YOU want them. It’s very hard for us to turn people down – the dogs bring so much love to our lives. Its somewhat uncomfortable that we become the “decider” in whether YOU bring home some of that love. But, we have to make these hard choices. 

This is not exhaustive, but I would like to give everyone some ideas, including some HOT TIPS, on what we are looking for: 

#1 is commitment. We want people who are committed to the dog for its life. Without a crystal ball, we try to predict commitment based on: previous experience with the breed, raising dogs in general, living with big dogs, past dogs raised and commitment to them, and time invested in researching the breed and making relationship with us and other Swissy people. If you don't know much about the dogs and breed, how can you even be sure of your own commitment level? 

Care: financial/mental resolve to provide the best possible care including high quality food, training, medical care including insurance, the best approach to medical like not over-vaccinating, not de-sexing too soon, the best care for day, to day living, for vacations, etc. Again, we are trying to guess the future, so we base this on interviews, your stated plans, our perception of your attitude towards care topics, and evidence of financially ability to provide these things. 

Lifestyle: these are family members. We try to intuit who also sees the dogs as family, the same way we do. For example, you hear us saying things like, “four people” were in the room, and then…." and you look around and see 2 people and 2 dogs. Our dogs live inside with us, and the time spent outside is part of their lives, but not their whole lives. It also means the dog has the environment they need to grow into a happy healthy dog, a safe place when you are gone, a good place to move their bodies at home when not on outings (an adequate fenced area at home), a safe arrangement to ride in a safe car, a home structure that is safe (usually an owned home without excessive stairs, or a stair management understanding for growing dogs) and an approach that properly considers the dogs' mental and physical needs. We think of our dogs needs before our own- because they trust us to care for them and we decide when they eat, (and what and how much), when they get to go outside, who they get to play with, where they will spend their days, pretty much every step of their lives' dance - so we need to do right by them and honor that trust they have in us to choose wisely.
 

Nexpa (left) visits 1/2 brother Griz in Colorado! Sharing her favorite toy for a game.

Connection: your puppy is our family its entire life. If we send puppy home with you and never hear from you again, we grieve the loss of that relationship. We worry about puppy and its life. We are able to share help and advice, and freely provide this when asked by our puppy families, to help you nurture the puppy through all sorts of life situations. When we hear about people going through a situation that could have been easily solved if they had just TOLD us or ASKED us about it, we are sad. Show us that you know it takes a village and that you won’t leave and try solve everything on your own, wasting our 15 years of experience, along with our access to decades more experience through our mentors--At the expense of your puppies own experience. They are the ones that are missing out when that happens, not just you. 

So, you read this far and now you get the promised HOT TIPS. If you have already met us at a dog event, you are ahead of the game. We are most comfortable with people who make a noticeable effort to meet us and/or other Swissies. The more time you invest in the process, the more seriously we consider your application. As you can tell, the above goals are intangible- it’s hard to know. So, we use this EFFORT EXPENDED scale as one way to make our best guess. That is why it’s a good idea to attend a dog show (or two or three) even if you don’t plan to show your dogCheck our show schedule HERE. We have a club organizing events (Golden Gate Calendar of Events) and many friends attending. So, take a look, plan some events, and when you are sure you are attending, let us know so we can make some connections for you with people who will attend. Swissy owners are great people! You will love meeting them. Then, let us know you went! Send a photo of you with some dogs you met. Ask some questions that such an event will bring up for you, after meeting new people and dogs. 

You are the winner in this process. You will meet great people and dogs and further understand what would be best for your family. You will make connections with other breeders and people who got dogs from other breeders, which may even lead you in another direction, or provide a backup should we not have a puppy for you. So, you have everything to gain from this process.

 

RODEO's All About Bustin' Outta the Brig 'Brig' - Herald Family Nov 2015

Waiting To Spay and Neuter 

Recent studies have shown that neutering can have an adverse effect on the health of a dog. To further delve into this new information, a team of researchers at UC Davis recently examined the veterinary records of 759 Golden Retrievers for hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear, lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma and mast cell tumor. The dogs were grouped as intact, neutered before 12 months of age or neutered after 12 months of age. 

The study revealed that the disease rates were significantly higher in both males and females that were neutered both before and after 12 months of age. Early neutering was associated with an increased incidence of hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear and lymphosarcoma in males and of cranial cruciate ligament tear in females. Neutering after 12 months of age was associated with an increased risk of mast cell tumors and hemangiosarcoma in females. 

The most notable results from this study include a doubled risk of hip dysplasia among males neutered before 12 months of age and the increased risk of mast cell tumors and hemangiosarcoma in dogs neutered after 12 months. Previous studies reported only a 17% increase in risk of hip dysplasia in neutered dogs and this is the first study to report an increased risk of cancer in dogs neutered late. 

Of the five diseases measured, the study reported that: 

There were no cases of cranial cruciate ligament rupture diagnosed in intact males or females, but in early-neutered males and females the occurrences were 5% and 8%, respectively 

Almost 10% of early-neutered males were diagnosed with lymphosarcoma, 3 times more than intact males 
The percentage of hemangiosarcoma cases in late-neutered females (about 8%) was 4 times more than intact and early-neutered females 
There were no cases of mast cell timor in intact females, but the occurrence was nearly 6% in late-neutered females 
Of early-neutered males, 10% were diagnosed with hip dysplasia, double the occurrence in intact males. 

Studies like this are just one piece of the overall picture, but we are finding more and more reasons to require that our puppies are neutered after 20 months for females and after their first heat and after 24 months for males.

First Draft 2016 

We attended a seminar called "First Draft" in February, put on by the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Northern California.
Thank you to all their volunteers for a great class.

Holly has been drafting with her Swissies since 2001, but it had been a long time, and Jeff had never taken a class. We learned a ton and look forward to working with our girls in this area of historical purpose for Swissies.

Check out these videos on You Tube! Echo Getting Started                   Echo Next Step




All photos and videos in this post graciously taken and provided to us by SUSAN ROBINSON. THANK YOU!!

RODEO Ends Long Show Season With Wins 

Hi there RODEO Fans and Friends!

We have had our heads down, working on dog show titles. Which means we have been loading up 2-3 dogs, several crates and tons of supplies, to drive three, 12 or even 24 hours to a show locations, and then stay in Motel 6, week after week, showing dogs.

We never spent so many days out on the road showing before, but we had so many promising dogs to show and titles in progress.

So many great accomplishments, its hard to pick just a few to highlight!

We started showing Nexpa towards her Grand Championship in August. Every month she was stacking on the wins. Best of Breed and majors in August, Select Female at the National Specialty (supported entry) in Colorado in September, where over 100 Swissies were competing, and another 5 point major at the Golden Gate's big shows in Pleasanton, CA in October. She finished her Grand Championship in December, with four wins in a row in Antioch, CA, and also an Owner-Handled Group 3!
Nexpa- New Grand Champion, Day After Owner-Handled Group 3

Echo came to live with us in July 2015, from Snowy Mountain Farms. She decided she wanted to stay! We started showing her right away. She got multiple reserve wins to 5 point majors before starting to win herself. Her first point was in December 2015. In January 2016, she took off running and earned her championship with a six show winning streak culminating in BEST OF BREED and two shows with champions defeated. Echo's winning run was with handler Anthony Groth. Echo finished with TWO five point majors, one four point major, one AWARD OF MERIT, one BEST OF BREED, and a few extra points.

Echo Winners Bitch with Holly in Palm Springs, Ca, January 2016


Atlas was really shining this year too, with Back-To-Back Best of Breed wins over the champion entry in November in Tucson, followed by Back-To-Back winners dog in Costa Mesa, CA in December, where he finished his championship with his third major - a big 5 point win. Atlas was handled by Holly to his first three majors until the final run, where he was shown by Barbara, Lauren and Stephanie House. After all I cannot show three dogs at the same show, all on my own! He finished with FOUR majors, and TWO BEST OF BREED wins over specials. Also, Holly put Atlas through the Canine Good Citizen Test, earning that title together.

Atlas New Champion - Wookie's Fourth Champion Offspring

Now what are we going to do with all our free time?
To start with, we will take time off from dog shows for the tax season. Then, we will be bringing the girls back in the ring for Rally Titles. Besides obedience, we will be working with our girls on carting and herding.
We will also be rooting for our other boys out there being shown: Gandalf, Murdoch and Leroy.
Nexpa has just passed all her preliminary health tests for breeding (eyes, shoulders, hips, elbows) and we are considering puppies after the April 15 tax season comes to a close.

Looking forward to another year of accomplishment in 2016- until then, time for some well deserved R&R for the dogs, although they might miss their travel beds!
Nexpa, left, Echo right, Enjoying Dogs Favorite Motel - Motel 6

 



 

Therapy Dogs 



We are so proud of our budding therapy dog, Murdoch.
With his owner, Andie Hansen, he has gone through many levels of Canine Good Citizen courses and now has completed therapy dog training and started his actual therapy dog visits.

Being a therapy dog is different than being a service dog. A service dog assists their person who has a disability. Therapy dogs visit people who benefit from the presence of the dog. It can be anything from calming the nerves and souls of weary travelers at SFO airport, like our friend Hilary and her Swissy girl Kona, listening to children read, or visiting sick or infirm.

We don't have a lot of experience with Swissies as therapy dogs ourselves, so we are excited to watch Murdoch and Andie's journey.

We wanted to share more about a friend of ours with amazing accomplishments with his therapy dogs.
While not Swissies, they are big dogs with a lot of similarities.

Check out our friend Tommy Dickey's information on his Great Pyrenees dogs as therapy dogs. Both his boys have 1,000 therapy visits! We have become friends with Tommy at the shows and he has helped us show our Swissies! We really enjoy our Pyrenees friends and love watching Tommy's dog
Teddy work in the obedience ring. They are both very charming!

Click on the picture to learn more about Tommy's therapy dogs.

Nexpa's AKC Title Roundup in Reno 

Our little 14 month old puppy really made us proud in Reno this year.

She finished up her Rally Novice title with two scores in the 90s and a 4th place.
She followed that up with back-to-back majors to finish her championship.

We are so proud of this young girl, out of Wookie and Mon.
She is Wookie's third champion and Mon's second, and youngest to achieve a championship for both.

Check out her Winning Weekend Here

View her complete show win history at Infodog, with links to photos, here

GANDALF - Lord of the Ring 

On July 18, 2015, Gandalf earned his AKC championship in Portland, OR. Presenting Gandalf in the show ring has been so much fun! Win or lose, this big happy guy always makes us smile. Greetings start with lots of jumps and kisses, but he is a smart guy and quickly gets back to work being a show dog, as long as you deliver the treats. 

Gandalf finished with FOUR major wins. Two five-point majors with Holly, and two four-point majors with DaLena. Can you say "over-acheiver"? Making us proud, the last win included beating two male specials. The next day, his first outing as a champion, he raised the bar to BEST OF BREED.

We are hugely grateful to Gandalf's owners, Adam and Christine, for raising and training Gandalf and being part of all his shows. Thanks for letting Wookie and Hero's boy shine.

Rally For Puppies- Nexpa Takes Home Some Green 

You will not see many puppies competing in the various AKC performance venues. I even had an exhibitor ask me how old was my dog and WHY was I showing her. Well- for many reasons, including she knows how to do this and thinks its fun! At a couple days over eight months old, Ms Nexpa earned her first leg in Rally Obedience and a green qualifiers ribbon. Two more to come - we guarantee it! We remember Wookie getting her first Rally Advanced leg at this same show in 2014.

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Breeder of AKC Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs in Central California (California Swissy Breeder)